Monday, March 1, 2010

Jennifer Lopez - Sketch-by-Sketch Review

Cold Open  (We are The World 3) - So I was laughing from the get-go with Kenan's Quincy Jones impression. Once it started into the song, I was laughing not so much at the content- but at certain impressions. Granted J-Lo's Rihanna was all kinds of terrible, and just sounded like Jennifer Lopez, but Kristen Wiig's Gwen Stefani, Bill Hader's Eddie Vedder, Abby Elliott's Melissa Etheridge, and Will Forte's Willie Nelson were h-amazing.  Loved the confusion at Vince Vaughn and Jeff Bridges appearances in the real We Are The World. However, why Jenny Slate was Lady Gaga, and Nasim was Shakira was beyond me -- those were pretty rough too. All in all, I enjoyed it. Not the best open to the show, but it had a nice premise and I guess I'd preferred this to a virtual word-by-word transcription of some of the healthcare summit.

Monologue -So this was a little like a J-Lo style rehash of Ashton Kutcher's monologue from a few weeks ago. Basically it was "I first appeared here 10 years ago and I've changed a lot". Cue a former member of Jennifer Lopez's entourage who was told to drop out of Fordham and hold her orange juice, and two drag queens Annifer Bropez and J-Blo.
Pretty weak monologue, but really did I expect a super monologue from J-Lo?

ESPN Ladies' Curling Championships - So to be frank, I'm not the biggest fan of these sketches. But I have to say, I think this was the best-executed of all of them, in that we got less gross-out puns, and more hilarious interaction between Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte (best chemistry of any pairing on TV right now?) I loved the bit at the beginning (which I feel like was improvised) about the different pronunciations of the word "vaginal". "Vaginal or vaginal, Greg? Maybe it's regional!" Oh Jason Sudeikis, what a quick wit you are. Also loved "She loves God! She loves God!" and "My toes are like tiny pieces of rice!" Cameo from SNL writer Jillian Bell also!
SNL Digital Short - Flags? Yes! Pretty well-executed and it featured lots of my favourite flags - Hottie and The Nottie Flag, Big Ol' Double Cankle Flag, We Love Betty White Flag, Turkey Chilli Whale's Flag, Little Naughty Strap-On Flag, No You Didn't Flag, Yes I Did Flag. What can I say? I'm really glad that these flags are getting their due. Side-note though - Lonely Island are really veering into nonsensical territory here, and while this one worked out okay, other random shorts of this pedigree might not work out as well - what I'm saying is, bring back concepts and stories!

Hollywood Dish - Loved it. Even better than the edition with Taylor Swift. As usual, we got the two self-centred entertainment reporters interviewing Jennifer Lopez and then at the end manipulating the clip to make J-Lo appear "loco". Loved all the reaction faces --seriously Bill Hader's skin must be made of play-doh, he can manipulate his facial expressions so much. Also, classic spit-take at the end. Kudos to Jennifer Lopez who did a good job and was a great sport.

Telemundo On The Olympics - So this was basically saying "Latin Americans Hate Snow". The first 3/4 of the sketch, I thought were pretty weak. I mean, I smiled at the horror on Jennifer and Fred's faces when shown ski-jumping, but the premise wore a little thin for me. Bill Hader saved it at the end with his disenchanted curling/"shuffleboard" commentary, and the end bit with Jefferson - "Oh no Jefferson, go away. This is not the time." - made me howl with laughter.
6/10 (only for Bill Hader)

Undercover Celebrity Boss - LOVED. From Steve Jobs explaining the "iTrash" to a disinterested employee to Richard Effin' Branson (stellar job from Bill Hader, again) to the Olsen Twins (OMG) to the end with "Only On The Celebrity Boss Station - CBS."
Seriously though - Richard Branson.

Weekend Update - Anyone else feel like this was a particularly weak edition of Weekend Update? I don't know, I wasn't feeling "New Media Correspondent Bobby Moynihan" and even David Paterson wasn't up to scratch (despite the awesome "Surprise attack, Seth!" opening). Jokes-wise, the only one I particularly remember is the one about the chicken egg, and "You did this!". Not up to the standard of the rest of the show.

Besos y Lagrimas - Oh man, loved this.  From the Besos y Lagrimas credits, to the fact that there was a NUN, to Kristen Wiig's character poisoning her husband's lunch. ("Mira!") to the end with the executor of Fred's character's will ("Carlos. Cero!" "Cero?!") While a parody of telenovelas, it was just absurd enough to be funny. Really well-executed and a good platform for Jennifer Lopez.
Office Puppeteer Love - I'm not actually sure what I thought of this one. I like sketches with seemingly normal, attractive people who turn out to be oddballs, but this was just.. I don't know? For the first time, I'm really unsure as to what I thought about an SNL sketch. I laughed at Kenan's general presence, and J-Lo singing "I'm a big boy!" with her puppet, but something was a little off for me.
Smashmouth In The Closet - One of the highlights for me, for its general randomness. How many shows are going to have a sketch where Smashmouth hide in a little girl's closet and terrorise her with the remarkably catchy "All Star". I loved this premise so much that I'm willing to overlook the cop-out ending where the little girl learns to accept All Star's catchiness. Kudos to Nasim and Bobby who sounds really like the lead singer of Smashmouth.  

Car Horns - Oi. Listen, I enjoyed the doorbell installment of these sketches, for its seeming randomness and non-sequitur..ness. But as a recurring sketch? NO! It was pretty much all the same jokes as last time but with car horns. I did enjoy "I'm a scientist, what about me?" "Bunsen burners. It's alive! What?" And look -God bless Jenny Slate for the dedication she gives to her character and for providing amusing voice-overs, but I will flip if in like two weeks we see a "Buzzers" sketch.

Overall -
It was actually one of the more enjoyable episodes of the season. As a host, Jennifer Lopez didn't bring tons to the table but she did a reasonable job as far it goes. She was never in Anne Hathaway territory, but nor did she stumble into January Jones territory - so kudos for being a good sport. I liked that the opening was non-political and am pleased to see that the writers are realising that you do not have to comment on every political affair, because frankly unless you're going to skewer politicians openly a la Jon Stewart, very few opportunities arise to parody them successfully in sketch comedy, while making people laugh.
As regards cast members, I was pleased to see a little more of Nasim who I think is doing a tremendous job, so long as she stays away from impressions (apart from Barbara Walters). Also glad to see that Kristen wasn't forced to anchor the show - it's good that the writers are dispensing the material out fairly evenly among the cast members.
MVP of the show - Jason Sudeikis/Bill Hader

All in all, a very entertaining show. While some sketches were so-so, none were offensively bad and those that were good were really good.

Overall - 8/10


Chellie said...

It was an average show, at least better than Kutcher's and wayyy better than January Jones. Yet Jennifer Lopez shouldn't have hosted. Everyone misses Jenny from the Block J Lo. She was really funny back in 2001 when she hosted.

As for sketches, I always laugh for the ESPN sketches, the Smashmouth sketch should have been moved up ahead of the show, and the digital short was awesome.

Oliver said...

I liked the skits, but I didn't really dig the music. She can sing, though.